Community Access Project Eureka’s (CAPE) Uplift Program Helps Secure Housing for the Homeless | Photo by Uplift Eureka

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Uplift Eureka – a program set up by the Eureka Community Access Project (CAPE) to support our homeless local population – will soon be able to help around 100 homeless people get off the streets, after receiving $1,030,111 Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG-CV) aimed at mitigating the impacts on the homeless population created by COVID-19.

Jeff Davis, program coordinator for Uplift, told the Outpost that the funding will be used to expand and improve Uplift’s outreach services and provide rapid relocation and emergency shelter. Over $300,000 will go to quick relocation — a low-barrier method of housing support that provides recipients with housing support and services. The funds can help cover deposits and rental costs for tenants, Davis said, adding that the funding is expected to help relocate up to 40 homeless people in Humboldt County.

Just as it sounds, rapid rehousing aims to provide homeless people with housing quickly and without preconditions such as employment or income. Of course, this can be difficult as landlords generally require verifiable income and rental history. Uplift helps homeless people overcome these barriers by working with landlords and management companies who are open to taking in tenants who don’t meet the usual criteria.

“It’s tough because the city of Eureka doesn’t just have the properties for us to put in city-owned properties,” Davis told the Outpost. “We’ve been doing rapid relocation for three years, so we’ve really built relationships with different management companies in the city.”

The program offers landlord incentives, such as a sign-up bonus, for participating in the Rapid Housing Program. Even more valuable, Davis said, is that Uplift provides ongoing support to help if a tenant is causing trouble. “If there’s a problem there, the owner can call us,” Davis said. “They have a whole support team.”

Although Uplift generally focuses on serving the homeless community of Eureka, recipients of Rapid Relocation Assistance will be selected by the Humboldt Housing and Homelessness Coalition Coordinated Entry System, meaning anyone homeless in Humboldt County can potentially be eligible.

In addition to providing faster housing, grant funding will be used to expand Uplift’s outreach efforts, allowing Uplift to hire more staff, purchase medical supplies and add two additional outreach vehicles. . Uplift staff often visit local homeless encampments to find people who need and want housing or services. The additional mobile outreach vehicles will act as offices of sorts, Davis said, allowing Uplift to assist people on-site with services such as obtaining a California ID card or a social security, or enroll them in services such as CalFresh or Medi-Cal.

Uplift’s outreach efforts will also be expanded to focus more on emergency medical and mental health services. Davis said the expansion is tied to the city’s long-term plan to develop an “Alternative Response Team” to work with the Eureka Police Department. The concept, which many cities have implemented as part of police reform efforts, is to hire mental health specialists who can respond to 911 calls involving mental health crises.

The city isn’t ready to make those changes just yet, Davis said. But the hope is that Uplift’s outreach expansion will help lay the groundwork by training some of these specialists so that by the time the EPD will be able to have the Mental Health Response Team , they will already have experience in the field.

“A lot of that is going out and doing preventative outreach with health professionals, mental health clinicians, to go to encampments, go to where people are and try to engage them and provide those services. before those conditions escalate to the point where he requires a service call or a trip to the emergency room,” Davis said.

Uplift will also use part of the grant funding to provide emergency shelter to homeless people in need by providing them with motel vouchers, giving them a temporary place to stay indoors while Uplift works with them. to obtain more permanent housing. Finding an emergency shelter can be very difficult, Davis said, because the city of Eureka does not operate an emergency shelter and local homeless shelters are often full. Additionally, since the Eureka Rescue Mission runs two different safehouses – one for men and one for women and children – family units often have to be separated to move inside. Hosting people in motel rooms allows couples and families to stay together.

Unlike the rapid rehousing program, people do not have to go through the coordinated entry system to move into the motel’s emergency housing. Rooms will be based on need, with Uplift conducting outreach to local homeless people, finding people who need and want to get off the streets immediately / Priority will be given to those with health issues.

The funding is expected to cover rooms for about 60 people, Davis said. Although motel shelters are not a permanent solution, they do provide an essential service, providing people with a clean, warm and safe environment, giving them the opportunity to obtain more permanent housing or employment, he said. he explains.

“It really helps stabilize people while we look for housing,” Davis said. “Everything is easier once you’re housed – once you have access to heating, a shower, running water, toilets, a place where people can lock up their things and not have to worrying if their belongings will disappear while they are away.”

You can visit Uplift Eureka website for more information on the various programs and resources available to help homeless people find housing and employment. If you are interested in the Rapid Relocation Program, you can enroll in the HHHC Coordinated Entry System by calling 2-1-1 or visiting 211humboldt.org.

The only requirement is that you are currently homeless.